WENATCHEE, Wash. — Police east of the Cascades have made an incredible find. Approximately $200,000 in stolen construction equipment and other materials have been recovered by authorities in the Wenatchee area.
There is so much stolen property that it took a team of five detectives two, 12-hour days to process it all. It's considered the biggest theft bust in the area’s history.
Police had to hire a moving company and rent two storage units to hold all of the stolen goods. There are industrial air conditioning units, water heaters, stoves, refrigerators, beams, plywood, cabinets imported from Germany, hardwood flooring, televisions, a motorcycle and even buckets full of high-end booze. Even that list doesn't begin to cover it all.
Sgt. Brian Miller of the Columbia Valley Drug Taskforce describes the suspect as a "one man Home Depot."
"A contractor told us that looking at all of this stuff, the suspect has enough to build a small house and partially furnish it," said Miller.
The taskforce arrested a Wenatchee contractor who, they say, was hiding all of the loot at his home.
"A lot of these stolen items were being used on his house that he was renovating," said Miller.
Investigators believe all of the property was stolen from 15 to 20 new home construction sites throughout the valley starting late last year.
They were able to make an arrest after a citizen reported a suspicious truck that was later seen with a stolen trailer and traced to the suspect.
Police are now trying to reunite all of the stolen property with its rightful owners.
Anyone who believes some of the stolen goods may belong to them should call 509-664-2310 to set up an appointment to view the cache.
Surprisingly, the drug task force says drugs don’t appear to be a part of all this.
Drugs are about the only thing they didn’t find.
"The amount of stress this put on those builders and the people planning to move into those homes is huge," said Miller. "It became a domino effect. There is a real sense of satisfaction in helping our community."
So far there has been just one arrest in the case, but detectives believe the suspect had plenty of help, and they are hoping for more arrests in the near future.